Review: Rubicon Cross Limited Edition EP
Genre: Modern Hard Rock
Tracklisting: Movin’ On, Next Worst Enemy, R U Angry, Shine
With the state of the music industry nowadays one has to wonder if the term ‘side project’ has become too much of a fad? Every musician seems to have one taking shape during at least one point in their career and whether it’s a super group or a solo album it’s always interesting to hear an artist give fans a side of them that they’ve never heard before. When looking at the band FireHouse over the last eight years (since their last studio album Prime Time) the band’s guitarist Bill Leverty has released three side projects in the form of solo albums yet when looking at the voice behind the band, CJ Snare, there were murmurs of him working on solo material ever since 2004 but with every passing year since then people began to wonder if he had decided to put such a idea on indefinite hold.
It wasn’t until the last six months to a year that CJ began talking, more and more, about the grand idea he was putting together as he had teamed up guitarist Chris Green (of UK bands Pride and Furyon) whom he met when FireHouse was doing a European tour back in ’04. It might have taken seven years to get off the ground but the project now known as Rubicon Cross is a hard rocking mega force to be taken very seriously. The sound that these two individuals have created varies between influences like TNT (the Tony Harnell years), Alter Bridge, and a lot of well known progressive rock groups thrown in that would take too long to list. Knowing of CJ’s background with FireHouse the day when Rubicon Cross put up sound bytes on their website I was shocked at how different CJ sounds in this project compared to FireHouse. Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to draw likenesses to the two as they are two separate entities however when looking at what Snare is doing in Rubicon Cross he has changed it up quite a bit and doesn’t go for a standard approach. 20 years since breaking into the music industry and CJ is still wowing people with his incredible range as every time he belts out a lyric you can feel it impacting your soul. I don’t want to seem like I’m leaving Chris Green out of the equation as he has found a kindred spirit to push his musicianship to the next level and beyond. If you’re a fan of heavy, in your face, passionate guitar playing Green doesn’t back off once he’s given room to throw down an intense solo.
So is Rubicon Cross worth looking into? Oh unquestionably! FireHouse fans have been waiting for a new album (they’ll get that on June 1st with a re-recorded greatest hits collection called Full Circle) and considering its been eight years of watching CJ and the guys tour on a pretty hefty yearly touring schedule Rubicon Cross is a definitely a welcomed surprise. Both CJ and Chris have mentioned this EP is a collection of songs built on broken relationships so there are a lot of people who will be able to relate with the four tracks featured quite easily. It’s quality hard rock which is becoming more and more of a rarity in today’s society so in conclusion all I can say is bring on a full length album as each one of the songs on this EP play off one another extremely well. If Chris and CJ have more ideas being worked on the contemporary melodic hard rock world as we know it is about to be shaken to its very core.
Stand out tracks: R U Angry, Next Worst Enemy, Movin’ On, Shine
*Rubicon Cross’s limited edition EP is available in physical (CD) format at www.rubiconcross.net (quantities are extremely limited so act fast). The EP is also available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.